A group led by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development this morning called for regional approach to the Pittsburgh area's multi-billion dollar sewer overflow problem.
In a press conference at the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority, the group presented a report that called for revamping the board that runs the authority and recommended the 83 communities served by the agency work closer together to deal with sewer problems.
It also called for Allegheny County to appoint a waste water coordinator to oversee efforts.
The region is under a federal court order the reduce or eliminate sewer overflows.
The best way to do that is cooperatively, according to the study.
"If we don't, it will cost us more money," Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said. "I think the economics are going to drive the cooperation."
Last month, Alcosan submitted a $2.6 billion plan to revamp sewer systems to reduce sewage overflows in its service area in an effort to meet a mandate from the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
The plan, under review by the EPA, would eliminate about 79 percent of sewer overflows rather than completely eliminating them as required in a federal consent decree.
Alcosan officials at the time said the package would double rates for customers by 2026, which was as much as they could afford.
Eliminating overflows would cost $3.6 billion and triple rates, according to the agency.
In August, Mr. Fitzgerald and others called for a greener and more regional approach to the problem. That would involve using green roofs, permeable pavement and rain barrels, among other items, to reduce runoff.
Ed Blazina: email@example.com or 412-263-1470.